Anger, Gratitude, and the Enlightenment Writer

Hardcover | February 25, 2011

byPatrick Coleman

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Anger, Gratitude, and the Enlightenment Writer examines how writers as diverse as Rousseau, Diderot, Marivaux, and Challe discuss the social appropriateness of anger and gratitude in regulating social life. Emotions are social transactions, with rules identifying when and where it isappropriate to express one's feelings and, especially in the case of anger and gratitude, who is allowed or expected to put them on display. Defining the kinds of slight or favor that demand an angry or a grateful response became problematic in eighteenth-century France under the pressure of twocontradictory developments which were both crucial to Enlightenment thinking about sociability. The first drew on the ideal of moral equality as it spread beyond the salons to the social world at large. Writers claimed for themselves an entitlement to anger at personal slight that had been hitherto reserved for aristocrats, and a respectful hearing for their indignation at public injusticedespite their lack of official standing. The philosophes also argued their writing made them social benefactors in their own right, more deserving of their readers' gratitude than obliged to any patron. The second gave a new twist to longstanding philosophical notions about transcending emotionaldisturbance and dependence altogether. A personal ideal became a public goal as Enlightenment thinkers imagined a society where all significant social interaction was governed by the impersonal rule of law. Occasions for personal slight or obligation would disappear, and with them reasons for angerand gratitude. Instead of serving as a model of emotional legitimacy, authors would derive their prestige from their rationality and objectivity. By exploring the interplay between these two attitudes toward anger and gratitude this book provides a fresh perspective on the FrenchEnlightenment.

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Anger, Gratitude, and the Enlightenment Writer examines how writers as diverse as Rousseau, Diderot, Marivaux, and Challe discuss the social appropriateness of anger and gratitude in regulating social life. Emotions are social transactions, with rules identifying when and where it isappropriate to express one's feelings and, especiall...

Patrick Coleman received a B.A. from McGill in 1970 and a Ph.D. from Yale in 1976. He is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on Enlightenment and early Romantic France, and on the literature and culture of contemporary Quebec. He has published books on Rousseau...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pagesPublished:February 25, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199589348

ISBN - 13:9780199589340

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations1. Anger, Gratitude, and Enlightenment Sociability2. Anger and Reconciliation in Robert Challe3. Reconnaissance in La Vie de Marianne4. Anger and Authorship in Rousseau5. Rousseau's Quarrel with Gratitude6. Resentment and Reflection in Le Neveu de RameauConclusionBibliographyIndex